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VACCINES

‘Majority of Germans’ against immediately lifting restrictions for vaccinated people

New measures passed on Friday in Germany will give vaccinated people - as well as those who have recovered from Covid-19 - more freedoms. Yet the population is torn over whether that’s a good idea right now.

'Majority of Germans' against immediately lifting restrictions for vaccinated people
A woman at the beach in Kiel on Thursday. Tourism could soon become much more accessible to those with the vaccine. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Georg Wendt

A total of 40 percent of respondents from an ARD-Deutschlandtrend survey said they thought it was “fundamentally wrong” for those who are fully vaccinated or have already recovered from a coronavirus infection to be exempt from restrictions such as social gathering rules and curfews.

From a first glance, it also appeared that the majority (55 percent) were in favour of easing curbs for vaccinated people. Yet this group disagreed on the timing – with the majority feeling it was too soon to allow special privileges for those who had gotten the vaccine.

READ ALSO: Germany to allow more freedom for Covid vaccinated people from Saturday

A full 51 percent of the 1,351 respondents percent felt that that extra freedoms should only be granted when more German residents have had the chance to receive their jabs in the first place.

Currently German states are vaccinating either priority group two or three, the latter which includes people over 60 and or with certain pre-existing medical conditions. 

However on Thursday Germany announced that it states can open up vaccines with disputed manufacturer AstraZeneca to anyone in the country who wanted one, regardless of if they are on a priority list or not. 

As of May 6th about 31.5 percent of the population had received at least one jab, and 8.8 percent had been fully inoculated.

Meanwhile, a Civey survey from Tuesday showed similar results: 45 percent of people thought that vaccine privileges should only apply when everyone has received a chance to be vaccinated.

In a March survey The Local conducted, many readers were also on edge about a ‘vaccine passport’ to guarantee more freedoms – especially when many younger people are still waiting in line for their jabs. 

READ ALSO: ‘The only way forward’: Should Germany introduce a Covid-19 immunity passport?

‘Chancellor should announce timeline back to normality’

German politicians were also deeply divided about loosening restrictions for people who had already received their shots, or previously had the virus. 

Free Democratic (FDP) general secretary Volker Wissing told Bild daily on Friday that curbs should be generally lifted – with a specific date – rather than waiting for more people to receive the vaccine.

“We are vaccinating our freedom back! It would do our society good if the chancellor now quickly names a date from when we can have our normal lives again – like in the US and the UK,” he said.

Yet Social Democratic (SPD) health expert Karl Lauterbach, who expects the virus incidence rate to fall exponentially in a few weeks, appealed to all Germans to live with the restrictions until the end of May. 

“We’ve held out for a year and four months. Don’t we want to hold out for these three more weeks and then have the full enjoyment?” he said Thursday evening on the ZDF program Maybrit Illner.

This last stretch of moderation is also important for those “who can not yet receive a vaccine.”

READ ALSO: ‘Hold out a little longer’: German health expert warns against lifting restrictions too soon

The national chairman of the German GP association, Ulrich Weigeldt, appealed to people in Germany to get vaccinated with AstraZeneca also out of global responsibility. 

While in India or Brazil severely ill people are collapsing on the way to the clinic, or completely unable to get a vaccine, “in Germany we are engaged in a sometimes absurd debate about whether strictly tested, already approved vaccines are really good enough for us,” Weigeldt told the news portal T-online.

“We have to vaccinate. Everything that’s there, to everyone who wants it. Now.”

READ ALSO: Germany gives green light to offer AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults

Vocabulary

respondents – (die) Befragte

A step in the right direction – in die richtige Richtung gehen

Recovered people – (die) Genesene

to call on/to appeal – appellieren

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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COVID-19 RULES

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

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